Stop rape campaign launches on campus

Sam Wigglesworth

The SRC recently hosted a ‘We Can Stop It’ campaign event, a campaign created by Strathclyde police to change attitudes towards rape, at its annual Welfare Week.

The campaign aims to encourage people to start taking responsibility for learning about rape conviction rates and change attitudes towards victim responsibility of rape. It also aims to promote the changes in the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.

Students have responded positively to the “We Can Stop It” event. Ailish Carroll-Brentnall, member of the GU Feminist Society stated that it was good that the SRC was holding this event, particularly because, “I’d imagine that many more students are guilty of these kinds of sexual attacks then we’d like to think. It’s so rarely questioned when a guy takes a girl home when she’s wasted. It’s an important discussion that students need to be having and an issue we need to be made more aware of.”

This campaign and the promotion of the changes in the law is in response to the low conviction rate that Scotland possesses with regards to rape. Rape Crisis Scotland at one point stated that the number of the convicted rapists in the 2008/2009 period was just 25 out of 821 rapes reported. While the number of convictions and prosecutions did increase the following year, there are still concerns over the low conviction rate and the fact that so few rape cases ever reach court. It is now accepted that attitudes to rape need to change and the practice of blaming women for their trauma must end.

Students have generally commented that the campaign is a positive movement as it removes the usual “blame-culture approach of placing responsibility with the victim rather than the perpetrator” and the positive effects of having the police force promoting and endorsing the campaign.

Ciara Maguire, GULGBT Welfare Officer who helps to arrange the event, said: “We’re really pleased with the positive response the ‘We Can Stop It’ event has received. It’s always important to highlight issues around rape awareness and rape culture and it was a good opportunity for people to raise their own concerns and have their questions answered. It was also a good chance to look at the aims of the ‘We Can Stop It’ campaign and discuss our own responses to it. It was an interesting and informative event and we’re happy that those who attended feel they got something positive out of it.”

Anybody looking for more information about the campaign can find it on the website.